We gathered last night to explore what it means to be in healthy, interdependent relationships.
It's one of our ethos statements (part of our core values) and elemental to who and how we want to be: because it's about God.
God's very nature is Relationship. When we reflect on the Holy Trinity, we see a God in perfect, interdependent, relationship with Godself - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It's in this mystery we receive our cues for how to be in relationship with one another. An historic, Russian icon by Andrei Rublev captures this well - all three persons of the Trinity sitting at table together, sharing, and waiting to receive someone else at that same table.
Paul's letter to the church at Corinth underscores that relationships, and especially, the gifts of the Spirit that each of us receive, are not for our own individual betterment but, in fact, for flourishing of others.
"To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good... For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are on body, so it is with Christ." - 1 Corinthians 12:7, 12
That's a lot of theological stuff. That's why I so appreciated Tom, one of our incredibly wise leaders, chiming in that the reality of healthy relationships require "that we show up."
We have to show up to be involved in one another's life. Showing up is all about relationship building. If everything flows out of our relationship to the Divine and one another, it's imperative we show up.
We show up to birthday parties, we show up for coffee, we show up at soccer matches, we show up at political discussions, we show up at community meetings, we show up at worship, we show up to plan and pray, we show up.
So we leaned into what it looks like to "show up" at this critical pivot point in our life together moving from summer gatherings and small group to regular worship and service in our neighborhood. It's a beautiful, exciting time and I can't wait to see what's in store.
We were extremely privileged to have Kurt Carlson, the Pacific Northwest Conference director of church planting with us for our core team meeting. Kurt has a ton of experience, having planted his own church and walking with countless others in their own unique efforts. It was humbling and encouraging to hear from Kurt that we "are the right church for this time and place" here in Portland.
Kurt went on to remind us that "The Covenant [denomination] by definition is about relationships." Relationships define who we are church-wide, and he encouraged us to begin using "we" language when it comes to talking about our local church. Kurt also shared with us how we can continue to foster our communal vision and include others to join in, all along the way looking toward sustainability.
If you'd be interested in not only joining us at one of our gatherings but being included in our core team meetings, you're welcome. Please join. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to find out how you can join in and "show up" with us.